TikTok is the rising video-sharing platform that has been breaking all records these days. With a groundbreaking audience and an enormous amount of content, TikTok is on its way to surpass other social medias. As this social media is rather new, copyright rules and guidelines regarding music can be tricky to understand. What are the risks when talking about TikTok and Royalty free music? We’ll try to see clearer about that question in this article.
Music for everyday users
Music is the center of this app. The whole point is to use music and follow or create dancing or humorous trends. To do so, you can use pretty much every song you can think of. Since TikTok has become a mean to make a song blow up in the charts, major music publishing companies allegedly signed deals with the Chinese app to allow the use of their catalogue. Therefore, does using Royalty Free music for your own TikTok videos make sense? Since royalty free is often the alternative to commercial music, I’d be tempted to say no. Using copyrighted music offered by TikTok seems to be more interesting, less costly. But you should still be careful and not use any copyrighted music. In 2019, TikTok allegedly received 3,345 copyright takedown notices.
Therefore, why people would ever use royalty free music if TikTok already allows you to use music from a vast and qualitative catalogue? You’re right to ask that question, and the answer relies in the type of TikTok users. For personal use, the above applies. But for promotional use, it’s a whole different story.
The TikTok music library for businesses
TikTok changed its policy regarding the use of copyrighted music by brands on the app. As more and more businesses found TikTok as a new channel for advertising, using any music like regular users do, is not possible anymore. That’s where royalty free music comes in. For the soundtrack of their advertising video on TikTok, brands have to choose among tracks from a music library provided by TikTok. That way, the choice of music within TikTok is incredibly more restricted for businesses than it is for regular users. However, TikTok pledged to add songs regularly to this catalogue.
Royalty free music used for promotional content
The alternative to this more restricted music library for brands would be royalty free music. Several music licensing companies, most of them online, provides businesses with music to use on social media for advertising. TikTok does not prevent brands from using royalty free music, but they absolve themselves of any responsibility concerning the use of such music. Thus, the risks are not pretty different from using royalty free music on other platforms. Although this is planned, there is currently no Content ID on TikTok to our knowledge. Thus, the only risk when using a royalty free license is if your contract expires while you’re still using the music you licensed. In that case, depending on your contract, the Royalty Free licensing company could claim copyright and monetary compensation. The other “risk” is to see your license become outdated. If you make or spend a certain amount of money in the context of that advertising beyond what the license allows you to do; if you display your video on certain region that are not included in your contract. You’ll be required by your licensor to upgrade your license to continue to have the right to use the music.
In conclusion, there aren’t a lot of risks if you use royalty free music correctly on TikTok. Each royalty free music company has its own policy, so be sure to check the terms and conditions of your provider, before making use of the music on TikTok. And keep in mind that TikTok is a new platform, changing and evolving rapidly. So, you might want a keep an eye on those evolutions in the future!